House approves Maine hospital debt repayment
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The Maine House has approved a bill that would pay off Maine's $484 million debt to the state's hospitals, agreeing to go along with a Democrat-backed amendment calling for the state to accept federal money to expand Medicaid to roughly 70,000 people.
After a debate that went on for about four hours, the bill won approval by an 87-57 vote Tuesday night. The vote followed Senate approval earlier in the day of the bill, which faces final votes in both chambers.
The measure would pay the state's $186 million share of the hospital debt for past Medicaid services with money from future state liquor sales.
It would also authorize expansion of Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Health Care Act. Majority Democrats say the time is right to do that.
Republicans say there's no guarantee federal funding will continue over the long term and the bill could cost the state more money.
MISSING MAINE TEEN
Maine man charged in death of missing teen
BANGOR, Maine (AP) - A Maine man charged in the death of a 15-year-old girl whose body was found in the woods is due to make his first appearance in court.
State police plan to file an affidavit with additional details to support charges against 20-year-old Kyle Dube when he appears in court Wednesday.
Dube, of Orono, was already in jail serving a sentence for fleeing police on a motorcycle at more than 100 mph when he was charged Tuesday in the death of Nichole Cable of Glenburn. A friend of the victim said they'd planned to meet the weekend she went missing.
Dozens of law enforcement officers, using aircraft and dogs, and hundreds of civilian volunteers spent days searching for the teen before her body was found Monday night.
PAPER MILL SOLD
Northern Maine paper mill to get new owner
MADAWASKA, Maine (AP) - A northern Maine paper mill is being sold to two New York-based investment firms.
Blue Wolf Capital Partners and Atlas Holdings announced Tuesday they have reached an agreement to buy a controlling interest in Twin Rivers Paper Co. from Brookfield Asset Management, based in Toronto.
Twin Rivers is a specialty paper company with a paper mill in Madawaska, a pulp mill in Edmundston, New Brunswick, and a sawmill in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick. Its headquarters are in South Portland.
Company officials say the transaction is expected to be finalized in about three weeks. Financial terms aren't being disclosed.
Regulators postpone vote on Maine's eel fishery
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Regulators have postponed making a decision on new regulations over Maine's lucrative American eel fishery.
After a daylong discussion, the eel management board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission decided Tuesday to delay the vote until August to gather more information about baby glass eels, known as elvers. Options under consideration include keeping the status quo, establishing quotas or shutting the fishery down.
The vote came at the commission's spring meeting in Alexandria, Va.
The proposed regulations are the result of a stock assessment that concluded the American eel population is technically depleted.
Regulations are especially important in Maine, where fishermen each spring catch elvers as they swim up coastal rivers. The fishery last year was worth $38 million, with fishermen averaging $2,000 a pound.
Maine gov. signs suicide prevention education bill
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Gov. Paul R. LePage has signed a bill into law that will make sure staff at Maine schools are trained in suicide education and awareness.
In a ceremonial signing ceremony on Tuesday, LePage also pledged $44,000 from his contingency fund to the effort.
More than a dozen suicide survivors, staff from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention attended the event.
The law requires staff at Maine schools to participate in 1 to 2-hour suicide education and awareness training. It also requires one staff for every 500 students in each district to complete a daylong training.
Maine municipalities deemed "business-friendly"
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Two more Maine municipalities have been designated as "business-friendly" by the state.
The Department of Economic and Community Development says Presque Isle and Richmond have made the grade to be certified as business-friendly communities. Twenty Maine towns and cities have earned the designation since the program was launched a little over a year ago.
Those deemed as business-friendly are given a certificate and two road signs to tout the award. They're also promoted by the state as being business-friendly.
Communities are evaluated on whether they have a business-friendly approach in terms of things like customer service, licensing and permitting, business involvement and collaboration.
Maine businesses to receive environmental awards
WINSLOW, Maine (AP) - Three businesses, a nonprofit and a new venture are being named as this year's winners of the Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence.
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho and an adviser to Gov. Paul LePage are announcing the winners Wednesday at Mid-Maine Machine Products, a manufacturer in Winslow.
Four businesses and a nonprofit organization will receive awards for projects and programs that are deemed innovative while resulting in both environmental and economic benefits.
Officials say the winners come from Aroostook, Knox, Penobscot, Somerset and York counties.
King meets with Maine students via teleconference
BREWER, Maine (AP) - U.S. Sen. Angus King is meeting with Brewer High School students, even though he'll be nearly 700 miles away.
The independent senator is holding what he calls a "Capitol Class" with students on Wednesday as part of his effort to digitally connect with as many Maine high schools as possible while in Washington.
To make it happen, King meets face-to-face with Maine students through video teleconference from the U.S. Senate recording studio in Washington.
King has already met with a number of other high schools by remote teleconference.
NH House voting whether to legalize casino
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The House is voting whether New Hampshire should compete with Massachusetts for gambling revenue by legalizing a casino.
The House votes Wednesday on a Senate bill allowing 5,000 video slot machines and 150 table games at one facility. Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan has lobbied the Democratically controlled House heavily to pass the bill. Supporters argue New Hampshire needs the money for higher education, highway improvements and other state programs.
New Hampshire has no personal income or general sales tax and many felt gambling was the best remaining way to raise money without a tax.
Opponents argue a casino wasn't worth increases in addicted gamblers and a tarnished image of a state that caters to families and tourists.
TAR SANDS PIPELINES
NH's Shea-Porter introduces pipeline amendment
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter has introduced an amendment separating approval of the Keystone pipeline project from authorization of pipeline activity between Portland, Maine and Montreal, Canada.
The amendment introduced Tuesday protects environmental interests from being affected by pending legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta across six U.S. states to the Texas Gulf Coast. The Obama administration is considering whether to approve the pipeline.
Shea-Porter says her measure clarifies that the expedited process made available for Keystone would not be used to short-circuit any environmental review for possible changes to the Portland-to-Montreal pipeline. There has been concern that the oil-carrying pipeline could have its flow reversed and carry Canadian tar sands oil through Vermont, New Hampshire and western Maine.
Funeral services next week for NH paratrooper
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Funeral services will be held next week for a 23-year-old paratrooper from New Hampshire who died at Fort Bragg.
Officials say 1st Lt. Paul DeMeo of Derry, N.H., died May 14 at Womack Army Medical Center on base.
Army officials are investigating the circumstances of his death.
In his current assignment as a rifle platoon leader, DeMeo was responsible for leading an airborne infantry platoon capable of deploying in 18 hours. He was responsible for the health, welfare and performance of 38 paratroopers.
DeMeo was a 2011 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was a 2007 graduate of Pinkerton High School. He joined the 2nd/505th in August.
NH DES: no air pollution violations in resort fire
COLEBROOK, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire officials have concluded that air pollution standards were not violated when two buildings were burned down at the Balsams Resort last January as part of a renovation.
A Department of Environmental Services official says the conclusion is partly based on the word of Colebrook fire officials who said all materials that could have caused air pollution were removed from the dormitory and a factory once used to make rubber products before the fire was started.
New Hampshire Public Radio reports that the state is fining Colebrook fire officials $2,601 for failing to tell DES about the fire beforehand and not having a state-approved inspector present.
Documents: 3 men had role in Vt. woman's killing
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's office allege three men had a role in the 2010 abduction and killing of a Sheffield grandmother.
The three, who are related, are in federal or state custody on charges unrelated to the killing of 78-year-old Mary "Pat" O'Hagan. No one has been charged in her death.
Hagan disappeared from her home in September 2010. Her body was found nearly a month later by hunters in a remote area 10 miles away.
The Burlington Free Press reports the court paperwork provides different reasons for the killing, such as robbery and O'Hagan learning about meth being cooked at an abandoned home.
Lawyers for the men have either declined to comment, could not be reached for comment, or did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Vt. health reform group hires insurance helpers
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The organization helping Vermont prepare for the federal health care reform has hired groups to help people navigate the system.
Vermont Health Connect announced Tuesday it had awarded $2 million in grants to organizations that will provide in-person enrollment assistance for health care coverage.
The organizations will manage people who will be trained and certified to provide direct assistance to individuals, families and small businesses.
The groups, called "navigators" will help ensure that Vermonters know what changes are coming and have access to the tools and resources they need to apply for health coverage.
Vermont Health Connect is a marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses can make side-by-side comparisons of private health plans and find financial help to pay for care.
Vt. teen pleads guilty in fatal crash
COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) - A St. Albans, Vt., teenager has changed his plea to guilty in a fiery drunken driving crash that killed his passenger.
Seventeen-year-old James Companion pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of driving under the influence with death resulting. Twenty-year-old Tasha Maring of Colchester was killed when the car crashed into a utility pole and burst into flames last May.
Police had said that Companion has never held a Vermont's driver's license or learner's permit.
The plea deal means that the prosecution can request that he serve up to three years in prison and the defense can argue for a 2-3-year sentence.
HOMELAND SECURITY GRANTS
Vt. gets $6.3M in Homeland Security grants
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont is getting $6.3 million in federal Homeland Security grants to help the state develop prevention and preparedness programs to respond to acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events.
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy says the grants will come from two Homeland Security programs.
A $3.4 million homeland security grant will help support the implementation of strategies to plan, organize, train and equip first-responder agencies who would be called upon in the event of an act of terrorism or other disasters.
A second grant of just under $3 million will help Vermont and local governments prepare for disasters and hazards.
Vt. homeowners get foreclosure relief
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont's attorney general says Vermont homeowners have gotten $14.7 million in foreclosure relief benefits as part of a state-federal settlement with the country's five largest mortgages servicers.
Attorney General William Sorrell says the benefits help Vermonters who have faced foreclosure, and who had problems with the companies that serviced their loans, such as delays and lost paperwork.
Sorrell's office says 257 Vermont borrowers benefited from some type of relief, which on average was about $57,000 per borrower.
About 82 borrowers received some type of second lien modification, totaling $4.1 million.
And the office says 39 borrowers were offered or completed refinancing worth $2.4 million.
The state-federal settlement came out of a civil law enforcement investigation and involves Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Residential Capital.
Vt. secretary of state opens judicial records
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont secretary of state's office says 150 years of judicial records from Caledonia County are now available for use by researchers.
Secretary of State Jim Condos says the State Archives and Records Administration recently completed processing Caledonia County court records from 1794 to 1945.
Orleans County court records were opened for research in July 2012 and Lamoille County court records will be completed this summer.
State Archivist Tanya Marshall says the records also document early-19th century smuggling, the rise of the granite industry, the influence of the temperance movement, changing ethnic patterns in Caledonia towns, and the capture of a notorious counterfeiting ring in Groton.
People wishing to use the records must visit the state archives in Middlesex.
U of Vt. hires new provost from NY school
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - The University of Vermont is getting a new provost from New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
David V. Rosowsky is currently the dean of engineering at RPI.
His appointment as provost at UVM was announced Monday.
Rosowsky will succeed interim Robert Low, who assumed the position after former provost Jane Knodell resigned.
The provost is the second highest ranking executive at the university after the president.
In his first year on the job Rosowsky will be making $375,000 a year, plus benefits.
UVM President Thomas Sullivan says the provost needs to be a highly accomplished scholar as well as an inspirational and collaborative leader.
At RPI, Rosowsky oversees 160 faculty members, more than 100 staffers, about 3,000 undergraduates and 700 graduate students.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.